The U.S Supreme Court opened its new term in October with five employment-related cases on the docket, down from last year's eight employment cases.

None of them appears to have the potential impact of last term's Walmart sex discrimination class action or the retaliation and "cat's paw" liability rulings. In the five cases, the justices will be considering:

  • The existence and scope of a "ministerial exception" to employment discrimination claims against religious schools
  • The rights of nonunion agency fee payers to resist union special assessments
  • Whether a Family and Medical Leave Act provision can be constitutionally applied against state employers
  • Whether an oil rig worker injured onshore is covered by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act
  • What wage rates should be used to calculate an eligible injures employee's disability benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act

However, the justices could grant review of other cases affecting employers and employees more broadly as the term proceeds, possibly including review of the constitutionality of the new health care reform law.